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Laoye's Beauty and the Beast System

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Laoye's Beauty and the Beast System
Last Update: August 31, 2002 at 19:05:49 IP Address:
Amplifier: Berning Siegfried 811-10
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Berning TF-12
Speakers: JBL 4344Mk2
CD Player/DAC: Sony SCD-1
Other Source(s): Yamaha P-80 digital piano, Sony SE-570 tuner
Other Accessories/Room/Misc.:
Speaker Cables/Interconnects: Harmonic Technologies Pro-9

Kimber Kable Select KS 1011

Other (Power Conditioner, Racks etc.): PS Audio P300
Tweaks: Bluetacked coins on sidewall to break up resonances.
Room Size (LxWxH): 25 x 8 x 7
Room Comments/Treatments: Speakers were designed as floorstanders to be positioned three feet from side and front walls. In my narrow room, I have no choice: I have them almost right up against the side walls. To flatten bass response, I raised them 5" off the floor. Thankfully, also brought the horn lens up to ear level--the recommended height. The left wall is a glass sliding door covered with a lace curtain. A small (1/3 db?) increase in high treble on this side is enough to match the bare plasterboard on the right.
Music Preferences and Comments:
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Classical, 70's pop, 50's vocal greats, rock of all ages, old timey jazz/ragtime, wierd stuff
System Goals/Comments: Hear the conductor's and musicians' ideas and talent or lack thereof. Enjoy any kind of music. Appreciate a great recording. Hear seasoned session players embarrass pop stars.

Berning ZH amps are made of aluminum for a reason and they must be positioned far away from magnetic objects, such as steel shelves, transformers, and other components.

These JBLs have batteries in their crossovers, which get weak in three months of regular use. If you try them out, make sure the batteries are fresh before reaching conclusions. The difference is striking.

System Strengths: Clarity of line and tone, articulation, range of color, overall expressiveness. Quiet. Surprisingly good bass control. Preamp balance control genuinely useful.
System Weaknesses: Compared with headphones, system is almost, but not quite identically tonally balanced. The JBLs have front-baffle attenuators on 3 of the 4 drivers, offering ample opportunity to set them up all wrong. I have them adjusted nearly flat; a hair of a turn makes a noticible difference. Room coloration seems unavoidable--the speakers are positioned right next to the side walls, which vibrate with the music. Overall, the system still lacks finest inner-detail of instrument voices across the spectrum and is lacking detail in the mid-bass. (I think that this is caused by close sidewall placement, though.) Sense of space is there (only when the recording has it--a good sign, I think), but not as huge or unambiguous as when I used the Berning ZH-270. Imaging was tighter with the ZH-270. So why did I switch to Siegfried? See System Strengths... At 93Db/W, these big ol' JBLs are a friendly enough load for the Siegfried to deliver more of what I was after.
Video/HT System: None
Other Interests/Hobbies/Occupation: Photo, astro, horology

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